Saturday 6 December 2014

Pitfalls of being Employed By IIS compliant Agencies at Heathrow Airport.

The Pitfalls of being Employed By IIS compliant Agencies at Heathrow Airport

By a Used & Abused Tradesman

I have worked at Heathrow Airport on and off for the past eight years. Over the past four years it has been stipulated that all Trades operative employed under 'Heathrow Capital Projects' are to be directly employed under their industrial agreement, thus banning all self employment.

 The notion and principle of this agreement means that all employed should be able to afford full employment rights and agreed rates of pay under their national agreement. 

 Since this rule was brought in by H.A.L.( Heathrow Airport Limited) an abundance of I.I.S. agencies have
 gained airside clearance and are supplying labour to J.I.B. companies which by far make up the majority or the workforce on most projects. These individuals are directly employed under the auspices of the J.I.B. agreement which should afford those employees the same rights as those whom are directly employed by J.I.B. companies.

 However I can state from my first hand experiences of this method of employment that the above isn't the case.

 1. As an employee of an agency you are supplied as labour to a third party to which the organisation has no responsibility to the agency employee and the foreman will hire and fire the individual as they see fit leaving the agency employee with no recourse to their actions through an employment tribunal as they are an agency worker and in a court of law does not have the same level of protection and employment rights as those that are directly employed. This could be for being an active trade unionist trying to outline health and safety issues or question the management when they don't adhere to an industrial agreement as the J.I.B. national agreement.(which I have been made redundant for) This creates a climate or fear as the agency worker knows he can be disposed of at anytime for any reason, which divides the workforce up and prevents any organised Union activities.

 2.As an agency employee you are not protected under the J.I.B. Disciplinary and grievance procedure as your colleagues that are directly employed are,which leaves you open to the near on no employment rights.

 3.As an agency employee most Agencies expect you to pay for your own training courses and agency expenses as C.R.B. checks (criminal records check for airside pass).  I have been asked to pay for
 training courses on a weekly deduction from my wages because the agency's client needs you to complete these courses to operate within their project. 
I refused and it cost me my job!

 4.As an agency employee you maybe expected to pay for your own P.P.E. if the agency's client doesn't
want to supply you P.P.E.

 5.As an agency employee you are expected to supply your own Drill contrary to the J.I.B. agreement and get no extra for doing so.

 6. Agencies try to avoid proper redundancy procedures with no consultation or matrix for fair selection as this would prevent their client from flexible hire and fire.(I have challenged this and now get no more job offers from that Agency.)

 7. Agencies don't pay travel or lodge leaving this expense to the individual.

 8. As an agency employee there is no BUPA Healthcare as J.I.B. directly employed individuals are entitled.

 9. Agencies don't cover any death benefit as J.I.B. companies do for their employees.

 10. As an agency employee you are not offered any pension and can't subscribe to the J.I.B. Blue Sky Pension.

 All of the above could be challenged but in my opinion would definitely cost you your job and be
 detrimental to any future employment.

 In the J.I.B. rule 17. it states Additionally an Employment Business must have an appropriate industrial
 relations policy and an agreement with Unite the Union compatible with the ethos of the JIB Agreement. To ensure that labour provided by an Employment Business meets the required standards and complies with the labour requested by a JIB Member Firm an Employment Business used by a JIB
 Member Firm must participate in the JIB’s Industrial Information Service. A record of Employment Businesses currently participating in the Scheme will be held at the Offices of the JIB. Additionally an Employment Business must have an appropriate industrial relations policy and an agreement with Unite the Union compatible with the ethos of the JIB Agreement

 As you can see from above that Labour agencies that are subscribing to the I.I.S. are not keeping to their compatible agreement and the use of labour agencies divides the workforce and acts as a vehicle to control through fear.

 This outlines the problems with the use of employment agencies at Heathrow airport or any other construction site in the U.K. This method of employment undermines our national agreement and if not stopped could become a model for future major projects.

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